Your Clever Toddler in Week 80: Applying Solutions from One Problem to Another
What your child learns this week
Your Child’s Brain in Week 80
Your toddler is becoming equipped to take on some big-kid (and even grown-up) problems: His memory is getting stronger, he’s able to guess and test how things around him work, and he’s eager to copy your own actions, even if it’s been some time since he saw you do something. It’s no wonder, then, that when Grandma takes him to her own house for the afternoon, your child knows that she will need a key to open her door, as he’s seen you do at your home so many times.
Here’s how researchers determined that one-year-olds can transfer the knowledge they acquire in one problem-solving situation to another.
What the Research Shows
Researchers had children sit on the floor, stand while supported at the hips, or seated on their mothers’ laps with three similar problems to solve. On the ground in front of them were three different-looking cloths in front of three different-looking toys. There were two strings laying on each cloth, one which was attached to a toy. To acquire the toy the child had to first pull the blanket to bring the string within reach, pick up the string that was attached toy, and then pull on it, finally retrieving the toy.
When the child was presented with the first problem, the parent said, “Can you get the toy?” and/ or, “You can get it.” If the child couldn’t figure out how to get the toy, the mother would retrieve it for the child. Those children who could figure out how to retrieve the toy did so at first using trial and error.
Once the children determined how to acquire the first toy, they transferred that solution strategy to the next two similar problems: They realized they needed to use the cloth and then the string to pull the toy, and so quickly applied those learnings to finally get all three.
Week 80 Brain Booster
Your child’s mind moves quickly as he analyzes a new problem and solves it by applying knowledge from a past experience. Back at Grandma’s, when your toddler he sees that her blender has a power cord, he knows it’ll need to be plugged into the wall before he can have his milkshake—he’s familiar with the first-plug-then-power routine from other gadgets at your home. If Gram spills snack crackers on the floor, your toddler will likely look for the broom. So not only does can your toddler associate objects with actions, he can now apply that complex understanding to new situations!
Just think: When you purchase a new tea kettle, you likely don’t read the directions before filling and heating it; you expect this one to work similarly to the previous one you owned. But who would have thought this ability would emerge as young as 12 months—and that at a year and a half, your own toddler was mastering this thinking?
Coming soon, look forward to: Week 81: Following Your Gaze to Get Into Trouble!
Review the most recent accomplishments: Week 79: The Effects of Emotional Eavesdropping
Curious about how else your toddler might be developing right now? Learn more about her clever brain and her growing body here:
- What’s happening in Month 19?
- Here’s what our pediatrician says you might be worried about this month.
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